By Norris Chambers            

         The two room school with a stage in Cross Peak announced a box supper for Saturday night. The little school was always doing something to raise a bit of money for chalk and other necessary items for the operation of the learning institution. They called it the school with a stage because an addition had been added on one side and it provided a nice performing stage. The wall of both rooms had been removed on the south side, and the audience of each room could see the stage, but the wall between the rooms prevented them from seeing each other. It was a unique arrangement, but it suited the occasion for a box supper nicely.

            The young ladies of the community prepared lunches in decorated boxes, took them to the stage area through an outside door, and returned to the seats through the regular school door. The front door opened into a small entrance way. From that area there were two doors, one leading to the left and one to the right. They opened into the two school rooms. As the supper guests arrived, the ladies were directed to the left room and the men to the right.

            Of course the men knew their wifeís box and were expected to bid on it and get it for the supper. The real competition was among the unmarried ladies and gentlemen. The pretty young school teacher, Annie, was a prize worth bidding on, and several young men of the holler were anxious to get her box and eat with her. But Annie had a favorite boy friend, Harry. He came by the school often and walked her home to her room in the home of Mr. Blocker, a strong supporter of the school.

            I was not guilty this time, but I knew that two mischievous students, Clifton and Elbert, often hid in the brush by the trail and listened closely to the conversation between the two. This day they heard Miss Annie telling Harry how to recognize her box. It would have a red, blue and white ribbon bow on top of the white handle. He couldnít miss it.

            Of course Clifton and Elbert immediately spread the news to the other young men who were interested. But they didnít stop there - they persuaded several young ladies to decorate their boxes in the same manner.

            The box supper was a riot. The old timers said that the supper raised more money than any they could remember. When the first box was up for auction, the bidding was lively. Finally, one of the wealthier fellows got it and looked inside at the name. It wasnít Annie. He sat silently with a dejected look on his face. The next box came up. It was almost identical. Again the bidding went above a dollar. Again, the high bidder was disappointed.

            This process continued until six similarly decorated boxes had been auctioned. Harry had been outbid on all of the offerings. He only had three dollars. The next few boxes were different, but were snatched up for twenty-five or fifty cents. Then the last one came up - it, too, had the proper bow on the handle.

            Harry started the bidding at twenty-five cents. Poor Harry got the box for the opening bid. All of the opposition had spent their money on the counterfeit boxes and he got the real one from Miss Annie.

            Everyone found their lunch cooks and enjoyed the evening. For the first time in history a school teacherís box sold for the low bid.

Clifton and Elbert stared through the window and laughed hysterically.

            The moral of this story, if it has one, is to never believe what you hear and only half of what you see.